A story yesterday about a number of Indiana colleges and universities doing away with telephone landlines for students (I may never forget that phone box that was shared with those next door back in the Ball State days) makes total sense in today’s world. Along the same lines, trudging to the polls on Election Day is seemingly still the "right thing" for only a shrinking number of eligible voters.
Why do I say that?
- Early voting is becoming a dominating force, only restrained in part by the state or local laws in place. In Indiana, 24% of ballots in 2008 (more than double previous totals) were cast ahead of time. Currently, in a contentious Florida primary, more than 500,000 (30%) early votes are expected.
- Other states are being much more innovative, with various methods to save voters the trip to the local fire station, school, church or other facility on November 2 this time around. Unlimited absentee periods, alternative early locations and even mail-in votes are part of the mix.
- Technology is our friend. Amazing things can and do happen every day. Voting someday will certainly take place electronically. Let’s not be afraid to move in that direction. Doing things the way we have always done them — with the reasoning being we have always done them that way — simply isn’t good enough.
And if we’re going to have some voting take place on Election Day — which we certainly should — why not incorporate vote centers? These are centralized locations that make it possible for more people to participate and can save counties and states tremendous amounts of money. Pilot projects were successful. The time for widespread implementation is now.
Our BizVoice magazine, available at this time next week, will include some early election coverage, including comments on early voting and the impact on the candidates and campaigns.